This ad from a 1976 Superman comic brought back a lot of memories.

Whenever I see something like this, I can't help wondering how many kids mutilated their comics to take advantage of the deal. Usually I'm thinking "those poor saps, they ruined what could have been valuable old comics," but if you check out that list, you'll see there really wasn't a whole heck of a lot going on in terms of quality reading back in '76. I doubt the collecting world really mourns the loss of a few copies of Freedom Fighters, Blitzkrieg or Claw The Unconquered.

Notice DC required kids to buy at least 25 of the titles listed, making it impossible to get the buckle without expanding your reading horizons just a bit. An all-superhero diet wouldn't do it; you'd have to branch out to at least a couple war, western or horror titles. And who knows, maybe you'd even like them? You can call this a cheap trick to force people to buy books they ordinarily wouldn't, but isn't that what they do all the time now with company-wide crossover events? The only difference is these days you don't get a buckle to show for it, nor exposure to any new genres.

But why a belt buckle, you ask? Well, I can't speak for the rest of America, but in my neck of the woods belt buckles were HUGE in the 70s, as popular as bell-bottoms, CB radios, mood rings and disco records. Truck drivers, country-western singers and rock stars all sported impressive buckles, often one-of-a-kind. My own personal paragon of style was bionic beefcake Lee Majors, who accessorized his stylish leisure suits with a wicked cool buckle as The Six Million Dollar Man. And even that didn't hold a candle to the Mother-of-All Buckles worn by Lee's pal Elvis Presley.

I recently found a box with my old buckles from the 70s; I had a Star Trek buckle (shaped like the Enterprise), a US Air Force buckle (jets and a flag, in gloriously gaudy color) and of course a Superman buckle. But not the one DC offered; no way I was going to cut up my comics, or buy Tarzan Family. And to be honest, I don't even think it looks that good.

Aside from this clipping, the buckle remains largely mysterious to me. In all the times I've searched for "Superman buckle" on eBay, I've never spotted one that looked like the one in the offer. If anyone reading this managed to snag one, I'd love to hear from you.